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Are Malaysians Ready for the Co-Living Revolution?

BY Helena Varkkey

Updated 12 Dec 2019

"Co-living? Apa tu? Kalau co-working I tahu lah.."

Trust us, it’s not a typo. And, you’re not too far off if you’re thinking along the lines of co-working spaces.

Most of us are pretty familiar with the concept of co-working already, kan? As more and more Malaysians cari makan through the gig economy, co-working spaces are super on-trend right now. 

You know the drill: you rent a workspace, and you share other work facilities (like meeting rooms, photostat machines etc) with other ‘tenants’. These spaces are also usually super swanky to boot, which beats working all day at a wobbly Starbucks table for sure.

Well, co-living ni lebih kurang je la.


What's covered in this article?

Wait, is this thing even new?

Good point! Come to think of it, the concept of co-living may not be all that new to many Malaysians.

Hands up: who grew up staying in the same house as your grandparents? And maybe even with an auntie, uncle, or cousin or two (or three)? Mesti ramai, kan? This is Malaysians thing lah. But, that’s living with family, so lain konsep sikit.

Let’s try another question: who stayed in a student dorm during university? Now we’re talking.

Co-living ni is basically like dorm living, but for adults! 

If you want to get all technical, here’s the ‘official’ definition of co-living, according to (you guessed it!) “Shared housing designed to support a purpose-driven life; a modern, urban lifestyle that values openness, sharing, and collaboration”.


I’m not sold just yet. Tell me more!

Following in the footsteps of the co-working revolution, co-living has taken off worldwide in the past few years. This is due to several new trends in the workplace and property markets worldwide.  

We all know that houses in the city are mahal gila, right? Well, it’s not only in Malaysia. 

Skyrocketing property prices in major cities have shrunk the average sizes of homes to match what most buyers and renters (you and me) can realistically afford. But, you can only go so small before having to rethink what a home looks like. 

At the same time, more and more young people are entering universities and graduating as professionals. After graduation, they usually move to big cities in droves to find work, and thus need places to stay as well. More people = less space to go around. 

These middle-class professionals will come to expect an atas lifestyle to match their new high-flying jobs. However, with salaries that are (only slooooowly) playing catch-up with the cost-of-living, something’s gotta give. 
The solution? Co-living lah! 

Okay, is it exactly like a dorm then?

Co-living spaces are made up of a combination of private and communal living areas. Your private space would be generally limited to a bedroom and sometimes bath facilities (think super compact studio apartment), but what these private areas lack in size, they often make up for with stylo design and a strong community of fellow urbanites.

The common facilities normally include kitchen space, living and dining, entertainment system, workspace, lepak deck, etc. And did we mention that you don’t have to worry about cleaning up either? What’s not to love? 

Most of these co-living spaces also arrange fun activities for residents to build a sense of community and encourage collaboration.  

In short, your private unit may be a bit small, but you can live the atas life without the price tag lah! And you’ll have a ready-made geng to boot. Not a bad trade-off, right?
Large communal spaces Small personal space
Neighbours with similar lifestyles Sharing almost everything with those neighbours
Fun activities organised for you Being obliged to join said activities (introverts beware!) 
Fancy interiors and furnishings You don’t own any of the fancy stuff
Housekeeping in common areas No housekeeping in personal areas

But financially, how is it different from renting a room or renting a unit with friends? Not the same meh?

We know, it’s all about the money! Ok ok, we’ll cut to the chase. Let’s consider different types of rental options in the Jalan Ampang/KLCC area as an example:

A co-live area at Co-coon
  • Co-Coon at Damai Residence off Jalan Ampang, which is a short-term co-living space, offers a minimum three-month lease at RM800 monthly for its smallest room with shared bathrooms. The rate is all-inclusive, but deposits still apply!
  • A 424sf studio with full co-living facilities at 3Towers Jalan Ampang is available for conventional long-term rent at RM1,200 per month
  • According to Numbeo, the average monthly rentals for a three-bedroom apartment in KL city centre is around RM4,028.15. So sharing an apartment with friends or renting a room in such a unit would cost on average around RM1,342.70 monthly.

Bottom line: Is co-Living for everybody?

In general, co-living life is most suited to young, urban professionals, who are single or couples without children.

So, if you’re a transient professional working on a contract basis, a short-term co-living unit would give you more bang for your buck. Longer-term co-living arrangements tend to offer slightly larger personal spaces, and can still be cheaper than conventional rentals!  

Also, take note that a co-living space may be suitable for you now, but maybe not so much in the long-term. When you welcome the pitter-patter of little feet into your life, you’re gonna want to think about moving to a more conventional property. 

In short, co-living beats renting a random room in a random apartment. And, while sharing with friends may have its perks, if you’re open to meeting new friends (and who isn’t, amirite), why not give co-living a try? Belum cuba belum tahu, kan?

Anyway, if you’re an investor and thinking of purchasing a co-living unit, don’t forget to make use of the array of tools and resources at your fingertips at Loanstreet! We have a home loan comparison tool, comprehensive eligibility report, and stamp duty calculator

We’ll take you one step closer to living your best co-living life!
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About the Author

Helena Varkkey


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